I am troubleshooting some loss of fidelity when uploading InDesign-created epub to KDP, and I want to look at the epub as it is right after the Indesign export process, to check on HTML and CSS tags. I don't need to do any changes to the ePub.

I rename the file from file.epub to file.zip, and use macOS to unpack the zip by opening it with the archive utility. (This approach has worked fine for me for epubs I get from other sources.)

The Archive Utility reports: Unable to expand "file.zip". It is in an unsupported format.

I found a 2010 post on the web pointing to an AppleScript on another forum somewhere to do epub decompression. I have not tried this as I don't know it does anything other than rename and run the Archive Utility, as AppleScript is generally a lightweight tool.

  • 2
    The post linked from there tells you exactly what the Applescript is doing.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 9, 2022 at 6:48
  • 1
    The post in question is mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55681. That shows the exact zipping commands used. Also, have you tried with a more robust unzipper than the rather flimsy one built into macOS? The Unarchiver generally works a lot better (though I’ve no idea if it works for this type of file). Mar 9, 2022 at 11:44

1 Answer 1


The script ePub Zip-Unzip 64 3.0.zip at https://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55681 worked effectively. (thanks Tesujin and M. Jaquet)

  1. I bravely ran this AppleScript even though I had to use security and privacy override (Option Click) to allow it to run once.

  2. This script works by dragging and dropping the epub onto the script.

  3. The script wanted access to Finder to get to the epub and to System Events to get its launch path.

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